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Archive for December, 2006

Today, 75-80% of the world's natural diamonds are used for industrial purposes and 20-25% for gemstones. It is the chemical and physical properties of this mineral that give it the superior cutting ability for industrial use. Diamond coatings have improved on diamond's industrial applications in cutting and in aiding the performance of semiconductors. It is the optical properties of this mineral that give it the superior beauty and durability to be used as a gemstone. The rarity of this gemstone is related to the pet

rogenesis of the igneous rock in which the diamond is recovered. Diamond may even be found in meteorites. It is an important economic resource, responsible for developing nations and creating war. Faceting diamond, in order to maximize its optical properties, depends upon a knowledge of geometry. Diamond is the perfect mineral to focus on considering its notoriety and the fact that diamond studies cross disciplines, such as mineralogy, geology, astronomy, material science, mathematics, anthropology, art, history, and economics.

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 The majority of today’s diamonds are sourced from Africa, Canada, Russia, Australia and South America. When measured by value, Botswana is the biggest producer of diamonds in the world. An estimated 65% of the world’s diamonds come from Africa. Other African countries that produce diamonds and are Kimberley Process compliant include:

  • Angola
  • Central African Republic
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Namibia
  • Tanzania
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa

Countries such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa rely on diamonds, as a major natural resource, to benefit their populations. In these countries, the revenues from diamonds play a pivotal role in helping to build hospitals, provide education and build infrastructure.

1. Diamonds were initially used for engraving other gems, such as sapphires.

2. Most diamonds have been formed over 100 miles beneath the earths surface.

3. Romans wore diamonds as lucky charms as they believed that diamonds had the power

4. Most diamonds are over 3 billion years old!!!

The largest rough diamond ever found was the Cullinan (3,106 carats). It was discovered on January 26, 1905 in the Premier mine of South Africa. It was then cut into nine major stones, including the largest gem diamond, the Cullinan 1, or Star of Africa which is 550.20 carats. This is mounted in the British Royal Scepter and housed in the Tower of London. 

Two large, pear-shaped diamond earrings, weighing 14.25 and 20.34 carats respectively, are part of the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. The diamonds once were supposedly set in earrings that belonged to Marie Antoinette and some sources say they were her favorite pieces of jewelry and she wore them constantly. They were taken from her during an attempt to flee France as the Revolution dawned and the position of the Royals became dangerous.

The collection is currently traveling around the U.S.